Sunday Sound Off: Airport Security

Unless you are clinically brain dead you have no excuse for not being prepared to go through security at the airport. Even if you’ve never flown before there are huge signs telling you what to do, and even if you’ve never flown before and can’t read either there are handy diagrams so you can sort your shit out ahead of time and not piss off the person behind you. Even if you have never flown before, can’t read, and can’t understand diagrams it’s STILL easy to figure out the drill. 

I actually had a pleasant experience going through today – perhaps because one is flying business class (*cough*wanker*cough*) and they’re usually more frequent flyers so understand the jackets off, laptop out, liquids in a baggie routine more easily but it’s made me yearn never to go back to economy. 

There are those people who float up to security like Dolly daydream all the way through the queue and then they’re faced by the bins and it’s like “earth to Martin, come in Martin” and so, with all the urgency of a hungover sloth they set about finding their stuff from the hundreds of pockets on their bags and of course they haven’t put their toiletries in a baggie and do they even have a baggie? No, no they do not. Shame on you Martin, shame on you. 

They dawdle through the scanner and naturally get tapped up for a pat down which holds things up even more and then somehow they also manage to take up ALL OF THE SPACE at the bag re-pack area as they decide it is not just time to cram your things back into your bag enough to allow you to move off and re-pack it properly somewhere where you don’t feel you’re in the way. No the Martin’s of this world think it is prime time to decant every fucking thing from their ridiculous sized bag, spread it as far and wide as possible, and then stand looking at it whilst considering how to get it all back in like some big game of luggage Jenga. 

And the most galling part of all is that they’re blithely unaware that they’re being a nuisance while I’m left gnashing my teeth at their ineptitude. For dealing with the Martin’s of this world and managing to do so without shouting “yes you have to put your laptop in a bin you fuckmonkey! Why the fuck are your liquids not in a bag you bellend? Yes aftershave is a liquid! Even if it’s Drakkar Noir and stinks like a teenage boys’ nut-sack” I think airport security staff are the real MVP and the Martin’s of the world should be grounded. For life. 

A-Z: Childhood Memories

We lived in a detached house on a private estate, the house my Mum had grown up in once her family moved to the sea. My Grandfather worked for Midland Bank and used to commute to London daily and when he got older and my Grandmother was long gone he lived with us. I remember him always being happy to climb under the dining table with a young Alice to play cards and I remember him watching my brother play cricket sat looking stoic concentrating on Humphs’ form. I also remember his best friend Bernard Parrott who had a wooden leg and used to charge me money to knock on it.

Pops worked abroad until I was 16, the pattern tended to be away for 6 months and home for 2 so I remember a LOT of journeys to and from Gatwick Airport. We always stopped at Little Chef after dropping him off, an Olympic Breakfast and a lolly to cheer us up. We went to the local Church every Sunday, Mum was a server and I was in the choir. One December she was up serving whilst wearing Christmas tree earrings with LED lights and had accidentally knocked one on her collar switching it on. It was flashing like crazy and we were all in the choir stalls waving madly to get her attention.

I went to the local school and to this day am still friends with my first teacher in year 3. Eventually Mum got a job at the school and it became a huge part of our lives even after Humph and I had left. There is a peace garden in her memory in the school grounds.

When I was tiny I was uncertain when Dad came home because when he went away he was clean shaven and when he came home he had a full on Captain Birdseye beard – little me couldn’t reconcile the two and it would take a bit of time to give him a cuddle. We didn’t often go on holidays due to Dad liking to be at home when he was at home (totally understandable) but also due to some complicated tax reasons. One summer we went to stay with my Dad’s friends in Cornwall, the F’s. We went to Flambards Theme Park and I was in awe at Dad flinging himself down the Demon Drop slide. If I close my eyes I can picture it like it was yesterday.

After Grandpa died we went on a family holiday in Lisbon, it’s was Humph’s 11th birthday and we spent it staying in the Captain’s cabin on Dad’s tanker. It was in dry dock so we were allowed onboard and even got to walk around underneath it. My Dad was the coolest man in the World on that holiday. In charge of an entire tanker and all its crew, it was nice to see where he spent all those months. We used to write to him but as we got older we would lie on ‘half acre’ (my parents massive bed) and talk into a cassette tape for him, being too lazy to put pen to paper. I could never stay in the school assemblies around Sea Sunday, the hymn ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ used to make me weep thinking about Dad ‘in peril’ on the sea. I still can’t listen to it without welling up.

We had a cat called Blueboy and a scruffy little dog who Mum wanted to call Binbag but sense won out and he became ‘Aries’. Life in the village was slow paced and everybody knew everyone else which felt claustrophobic at times. Mum used to gather her lady friends in the house for dinner and wine, I would sit on the stairs long after I was meant to be in bed watching them in the mirror above the dining table. They seemed like so much fun and I wished I could understand more of what they were talking about – turns out they were writing a Mills and Boon (which got rejected!) so some of the topics were definitely not for my sensitive ears.

On the estate there were a lot of kids and I remember hours playing Manhunt in and out of people’s gardens. Once my ‘Aunty Sue’ came over and asked if I wanted to join her family on the beach and I burst into tears. On being asked why I was crying, with a wobbly lip and a snivelly nose I wailed ‘but Mummy… how will I know which is the shallow end?’ Common sense was never my forte.

I haven’t lived there for sixteen years and yet even now whenever I see the sign at the edge of the village my soul relaxes and I sigh in relief. I might have made roots somewhere else but it will always be home.

 

(With thanks to ‘My Life: An autobiographical journal from adventures to zealous plots’ by Mr Boddington’s Studio)

Throwback Thursday: Scunthorpe vs Man United

Number 2 in the new series – my first foray into the world of internet dating way back in October 2008. Still internet dating nine years later, still resolutely single. 

Day one of the great internet dating shindig – not a brilliant start I’ll admit but I guess I’ll give it time. The only contact I’ve had so far was from a man who was so NOT what I’m looking for that I almost left a Long Tall Ally shaped hole in the door! And before any of you in the cheap seats starts willocking on that I have to be open to all the opportunities that come my way if I want to find a man well let me tell you I’m down with that BUT a man who has no command of the English language (‘I want meet nice lady’), is significantly older than me, and has several children isn’t really what I’m after, let’s face it.

This interwebby dating malarky is forcing me to challenge my ideas about leagues in dating and where I place myself vs where I place the gentlemen that catch my eye. In a nutshell (*does nutshell dance*) I view myself as being the equivalent of Scunthorpe United or a Sunday pub team (i.e lucky to get any players/will take what they can) and always view the gentlemen as Chelski, Man U or the Arsenal (unlimited choice of players, inundated by offers) and in my head never the twain shall meet!

A couple of friends have absolutely torn me a new one for even mentioning the idea of leagues in the romance world but I surely can’t be the only person to think like that – whether it is actual fact or just yet another myth perpetuated by magazines/media/Marilyn Manson/McDonalds (all those evil things beginning with M!) is unclear but it is how I have always thought. So I’m going to kick back, relax, and wait for the men to come flocking to me (hmm) and then I’ll have to scissors, paper, stone to whittle them down!

Oh Friend!

I have lots of friends (yeah alright braggy, back in your box) but I really struggle making new ones. Sure I’ll wang on at people until the cows come home and am quite good at ‘being social’ but ask me to attempt to make a new friend and I will shrivel inside.

I just never feel very cool and so going from ‘chatty in the office’ to ‘hanging out when we’re not being forced to spend eight hours together’ is never a smooth move for me. I’m such a lamo I can barely bring myself to add people on Facebook. I’m a total LinkedIn pro, however – CEO of a company I’d consider working with in the future? I’ll hit that sucker up with a message and a connection request fo sho muthafuggers but asking someone I’ve met socially if I can add them on Facebook? Paroxysms of fear.

Simon

It’s all a bit pathet (which isn’t Sanskrit for ‘really cool way to live’ no matter what Ross Geller says) that I as a fully grown woman am too chicken shit and riddled with self-esteem issues to deal with this. It’s like come the fuck on, pull on your (very) big girl panties and get on with it.

Take the Cool Girl from Twitter (hereafter CGfT) – I asked her advice on something chick lit related (we both agreed we’d like to kick that term in the fanny) and from there started chatting about life. We live in the same city, she works at the same place I used to work, we’re both writing books (She is working on her third! Books one and two available here) and we both like alcoholic beverages. So far so kosher. But oh me oh my I fretted over asking whether she’d like to get together for a drinkie or two. Honestly, you’d have thought I was asking her to marry me or to take one of her children as a slave. She replied with a ‘heck yeah!’ and suddenly the weight was lifted. I felt well… I felt like a bit of a bellend to be honest (I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time feeling like an absolute throbber – note to self: work on this) that I’d worked it up into this mega. big. deal.

So we’ve said we’ll go for a drink when she is back from the continent and I am back from Singapore (oh such jet setters) but of course now comes the real crazy – what if she hates me in real actual non-internet life?!

*Ally slams her head on her desk repeatedly. Fade to black*

 

Concentration Tongue

After a fairly impressive string of updating every day I woke up this morning and thought “faaaaaaark, I’ve not written a post for today. Oh well I’ll bang one out at lunchtime and it’ll all be gravy”. 

Except I didn’t “bang one out”, I got the concentration tongue out (which made everyone in my office laugh) and did some secret squirrel crafting for a wedding on Friday.

The happy couple are officially hitched but are having a full on ceremony with all their favourite people, dancing until midnight, oh and yours truly overseeing proceedings in the role of unofficial registrar type vicar person. 
Sadly I don’t have a cassock or one of those incense jobbies to swing about, but I do have some beautiful wording and a healthy dose of nerves. I am so honoured to have been asked but also crapping my pants in case I fuck it up. I did a reading at an incredible wedding in January and practiced for AGES to do it “off book”, I was stood up there doing my best reading voice with the right inflections when WHAM… I forgot the next line. 

I wanted the ground to swallow me whole I was so mortified. Now I have the fear that I won’t just fuck up a reading, I run the risk of fucking up an entire ceremony. 

The last wedding I was at for this particular family I cried like a damn baby because it was so wonderful and as a family they mean so much to me. Note to self: do NOT cry this time! 

The last wedding I was at for this particular family I cracked open a bottle of Fireball whiskey, got completely trollied, lost my car keys and fell over and chipped a bone in my wrist. Note to self: do NOT drink Fireball, lose keys, and chip another bone. 

Quite a lot to remember but I know it’s going to be great fun. I have a boot full of jam jars, a folder full of wording, and a camera primed and ready so I think I’m just about all set. 

But just don’t fuck it up. 

Hot Liquid Receptacle

“It’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice”. So says some smart aleck who probably feels very important regardless because they have a trite phrase that people trot out. In my head those people are all exactly like Patty Simcox from Grease with perky ponytails and twinsets whose farts smell like caramel and who always say fiddlesticks instead of fuck.

I am always a bit wary of people who don’t swear, mainly because I find it so satisfying to drop a fuck every now and then. It’s such a great way of punctuating things, of getting attention, and of well just expressing oneself. A family member once told me that I swear too much and that it showed a lack of vocabulary. I say fuck that, and am pleased that said family member has now joined the realms of those who love an ‘F’ bomb.

But back to the niceties. The non-swearing ‘being a good friend’ and all round wonderful human being chat. I had what can only be described as a ‘friendship disappointment’ the other day, a shock out of the blue which made tears prick my eyes and a lump form in my throat. Don’t get me wrong it also made me rage over WhatsApp to anyone who would listen but the primary feeling I had was of real true sadness.

I felt like a total mug and like I’d been taken for a ride, taken advantage of and made to feel so foolish. I determined that it was because I was too nice and the friend sat next to me disagreed because she thinks it’s impossible. I’m not talking about being Susie Sunshine to everyone you meet and nor was she, she was merely saying that where friends are concerned nothing is too much.

If you’re a friend of mine I would do anything for you let’s get that clear. I’m ride or die, get rich or die tryin’, friends ’til the end loyal, and sometimes that loyalty means I AM too nice. I’m too nice to people who don’t deserve it, who have proved either by their actions or by their complete INaction that they simply aren’t worthy. My problem is that sometimes it takes me far too long to realise it, and even then once it’s realised it can take me an age to pluck up the nuts to do anything about it. I also vacillate wildly between being hurt to the bone as I was the other day, and between making excuses for the other person. They’re tired; they have a lot on; they’re stressed; it’s a Wednesday; the weather is bad; on and on until I’ve excused away their shitty behaviour and leave myself feeling like a bad friend for thinking badly of them. A vicious circle of feeling bad upon feeling bad.

But where does it go? Where does it stop? (watch for the sign of the lollipop…) I don’t want to stop being the friend I am because let’s face it I’m fricking awesome at it, but I also don’t want to be a receptacle capable of holding hot liquid anymore.

Answers on a postcard?